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EU Scoreboard Shows UK Superfast Broadband Penetration Improving

Wednesday, Jun 12th, 2013 (1:21 pm) - Score 1,998

The European Commission has published its annual Digital Agenda Scoreboard 2013, which reports that 95.5% of EU homes are covered by broadband access (99.8% in the United Kingdom) and 53.8% can get a 30Mbps+ capable superfast broadband connection (70.3% in the UK). But “ultra-fast” connections (100Mbps+) still have a way to go.

The data, which covers the period to January 2013, confirms that Europe is close to achieving its Digital Agenda target for 100% coverage of basic broadband services (0.5-4Mbps) by the end of 2013. The situation for superfast Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband, which aims to offer speeds of 30Mbps+ to 100% of EU homes by 2020, has also improved from 49% last year to 54% now.

europe superfast broadband penetration 2013

The EU also aims for 50% of homes to be within reach of an ultra-fast connection (100Mbps+) by 2020, although these remain very scarce. So far just 2% of EU homes are within reach of a 100Mbps+ service, although the number of actual connections has doubled from 1.6% to 3.4% (this falls to just 0.9% of all subscriptions in the UK).

However the take-up (subscriptions as a percentage of population) of all fixed broadband services stood at 33.6% for the UK in January 2013, which is above the European average of 28.8%. It should also be said that around 59% of all fixed broadband connections in Europe now provide speeds of 10Mbps+.

On the mobile side, 3G based Mobile Broadband (HSPA) was available to 98.4% of the UK population in 2012 (96.3% in the EU) and 4G (LTE) availability stood at 17.3% (26.2% in the EU), which is mainly because at that time EE had only just started to roll-out the first national 4G network (i.e. the next update will show a big rise). The take-up rate (subscriptions as a percentage of population) of Mobile Broadband was also 84% in January 2013 versus 54.5% in the EU.

Neelie Kroes, EC VP for the Digital Agenda, said:

I am glad that basic internet is now virtually everywhere in the EU, but we can’t get stuck playing yesterday’s game. The data shows that the biggest problem this year is the lack of investment in very fast networks, and a continuing lack of a real telecoms single market. The problem is clear and our response via a single telecoms market package will be too.”

Unfortunately Kroes original plan to boost funding for future superfast broadband projects through the EU’s €9.2bn Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) was wiped out by Europe’s budget cuts (here), which means that she has to rest all her hopes on new regulation and measures that will be designed to open up and cut costs for telecoms operators (here and here).

It’s worth remembering that the United Kingdom hopes to make superfast broadband (25-30Mbps+) speeds available to 90% of people in each local authority area by the end of 2015 through various state aid (Broadband Delivery UK) supported schemes.

Elsewhere there’s a handy table to show the progress on key Digital Agenda targets that has been made in other areas and those who enjoy reading lengthy reports can always download the massive PDF at the bottom.

eu digital agenda broadband scorecard 2013

EU Digital Agenda Scoreboard 2013 (PDF)

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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